Rat attack: Dean Egan, NPWS, and Frances Zewe, UNE, prepare rodent baits on Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour.
Rat attack: Dean Egan, NPWS, and Frances Zewe, UNE, prepare rodent baits on Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour. Bruce Thomas

Mice in Coffs to get nasty shock

THE rodents running rampant on Coffs Harbour’s iconic Muttonbird Island are about to get a nasty shock.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service will today embark on a 10-week baiting program to rid the island of these unwanted residents.

NPWS ranger Ann Walton told the Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday preliminary results from the recent trapping program found the island had “incredibly large numbers of mice”.

“We also have a reasonable population of native rats and we certainly know we have a population of black rats out there as well,” Ms Walton said.

The intensive baiting program will specifically target the black rat and house mice populations – both introduced species – and will feature new vertical bait stations perched half a metre above ground to attract the black rats.

Other ground-based baits will be used to ensnare the mice.

About 170 baits will be put in place.

“The island won’t be closed during the baiting program but we will close it off to the public for a week afterwards for trapping and to compare population sizes of the rodents to see how effective the baiting program has been,” Ms Walton said.

“We will continue baiting in a reduced area because the birds will be back by then.”

The scientific research and control program to protect the wedge-tailed shearwater nesting colony is supported by Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority in partnership with University of New England.

For more information, phone the NPWS Coffs Coast area office at the marina on 6652 0900.



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